Technics make a fantastic bunch of turntables. But maintaining your turntable is essential to keeping it in good condition. The 1210 model is no different in its requirements for maintenance. However, knowing the correct way to perform a cleaning service is vital to proper turntable maintenance.
The process for cleaning a Technics 1210 is no different from the process of cleaning a Technics 1200. However, to avoid any confusion, I’ll provide a step-by-step guide to cleaning your turntable without wrecking it or getting yourself electrocuted.
Cleaning your turntable is vital for a turntable’s longevity and proper operation. So, let’s get started and walk through a good cleaning of your Technics turntable.
Technics 1200 Series Turntable Cleaning Procedure
Cleaning a Technics 1210 is the same as cleaning a Technics 1200. The only differences between the two models are a voltage selector on the 1210 and the fact that the 1210 model is usually black in color instead of the silver-grey of the 1200 model.
What You’ll Need
- Warm water
- Mild soap (no perfumes, moisturizers, or additives)
- Bucket (for your soapy water)
- Cotton swab sticks (brand Q-Tip is well-known)
- A stylus cleaning brush
- Alcohol (optional)
- Paper towels (optional)
Most Important First Step
Unplug your turntable completely. It includes power and audio cables. There should be no wires plugged into the turntable at all when you start cleaning. It is for safety reasons. You do not want to get electrocuted while cleaning your turntable.
Turntable Cover Cleaning
If you have a turntable dust cover installed, or rather, haven’t removed the stock cover that came with the turntable, then it’s likely you’ll want to clean it.
In time the dust covers can lose clarity. However, that’s more of restoration, so I’ll save that for another day. Today, let’s focus on cleaning.
The dust cover is made of clear plastic. However, the plastic is somewhat rigid, and we don’t want to scratch the clear surface. Therefore I recommend only using a soft cloth and warm water mixed with a small amount of mile soap.
When I clean my turntables, I take a small pail and add some warm water. The soap I use is a bar soap with zero additives, so I just put the bar into the water and rub it a few times until there’s a small amount of soapiness in the water. Then, I remove the bar and save it for another day, leaving me just the soapy warm water.
The cloth I use is a small microfiber cloth that won’t scratch the plastic.
- Mix your warm soapy water.
- Wet soft cloth in water and wring out all water possible so the rag is moist but will not drip, even when squeezed.
- Wipe the top of the dust cover to remove dust.
- Churn the cloth in water to remove the dust you just removed and wring out the cloth well a second time. Again, no dripping even when squished.
- Wipe the cover again. The interior won’t need wiping if it has been left installed on the turntable.
Platter And Body Cleaning
Here we will use the same pail of warm water and a soft cloth. We will also use the rag and some cotton swab sticks. Alcohol is optional. I’ll explain when I get to that point.
Platter and Underneath
- Remove your platter slipmat or rubber mat. If you need to wash the rubber mat, look at my article on cleaning a turntable rubber mat best.
- Your platter will have two holes. Using both hands, hook your stronger fingers (one per hand) into the two holes. Using your thumb, press down on the center spindle while pulling up on the two holes to lift the platter off the spindle.
- The platter is a part of the direct-drive motor. It’s why you need to push on the spindle when you lift the platter, so the spindle lets go of the platter, and the platter will rise off the spindle and lower assembly.
- After removing the spindle, you’ll notice a plastic cover over the electronic guts underneath. The cover is held on by several screws, which you will need to remove now that the platter is out of the way.
- Under the plastic cover you’ve just removed, you will see a large circuit board, half of the direct-drive motor and some wiring, and other such guts. In addition, there will be a half-inch edge around where you screwed off the plastic cover, and you will see dust and dirt around this edge.
- Using your sponge, soak with your warm soapy water and wring out exceptionally thoroughly. Next, use the moist sponge to wipe out the dirt around the circumference of the edge you have exposed.
- Using your cotton swab sticks and some rubbing alcohol, moisten the cotton with the alcohol, but squeeze it out, so it’s again moist but won’t drip. Use this to get into the fine edge that would be under the edge of your platter. Also, use the swabs to clean any dust that has accumulated around the circuit board. Do not touch the circuit board at all, though.
- Once clean, do a once-over with a clean and dry cotton swab stick. It will pick up any last bits of dust or moisture left behind to ensure a clean under-platter.
- You can use warm soapy water and a soft cloth to clean the plastic cover after removal. Then you can dry it properly and ensure it’s dry before reinstallation.
- Reinstall the circuit cover and the platter.
Main Turntable Body
Treat the main turntable body as you would the cover. A moist, soft cloth and a wipe down for dust is likely all that is required.
Use extra caution around knobs or the slider. It would be best if you used the cotton swab sticks with rubbing alcohol in these areas. Rubbing alcohol ensures that it evaporates and that you don’t short anything out by leaving the water. Remember, you don’t need to use alcohol, but it’s better for electronics than water.
The turntable tonearm assembly is a bit more complicated to do a thorough cleaning. My advice is unless it is severely dirty, I would avoid disassembling. I’ve used the same turntables for years and never had to disassemble the actual tonearm assembly, although I have replaced one. Typically, you can maintain these assemblies with some TLC and delicate care. Here’s how I go about it:
- I use mostly just cotton swab sticks and rubbing alcohol to clean the tonearm assembly (anti-skate, balance, and arm). Due to the delicate tiny cracks and crevices, it can be difficult to access, so I ensure a moist (but not enough to drip) cotton swab using rubbing alcohol.
- Go over the edge carefully to remove any dust accumulated around the rotating unit’s perimeter. Remember that there are electronics underneath, so be cautious and never use anything wet that could drip.
- Clean all the little nooks and crannies around the anti-skate, balance, and counterweight parts of the tonearm assembly. Use the cotton swab sticks because not much else will fit in many spots without you jamming it in. Doing this could cause liquid to drip out of the sponge or cloth, so stick to using the cotton swab sticks for this part.
- As I don’t recommend disassembly (you need to take the body apart to get at the inside workings of the tonearm assembly), it shouldn’t be too difficult to clean. It’s just a bit time-consuming due to all the small spots you need to try to access in and around the tonearm assembly.
- Lastly, take your stylus cleaning brush and gently brush the needle from back to front. You will only need to brush it a few times to remove any dust. Do not try to wash or wipe with your wet cloth or sponge.
To clean any further, you would need to disassemble your turntable seriously. Although I’ve done this a few times, I don’t recommend you disassemble any more than the cover under the platter, or you can seriously damage components. Having to replace an expensive part because of a failed attempt at cleaning is a poor way to reward yourself for the hard work of cleaning your appliance.
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